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Detecting Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide in a Laboratory

Detecting Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide in a Laboratory
20/08/2019

Detecting Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide in a Laboratory – Q&A With AzoNetwork IGD recently conducting a Question & Answer session with AzoNetowork covering important questions regarding gas detection in laboratories. Our Managing Director undertook the interview discussing important topics within gas safety in laboratories. Topics such as: Why it is important to measure gases like Oxygen and Carbon dioxide in a laboratory and What our gas detection equipment can offer to clients. Read our full Q&A below. If you also wanted to learn more about our gas detection solutions for labs, we wrote an article on this which you can see here.

[AZO] Can you give a brief overview of International Gas Detectors and the work you do? [IGD] IGD was founded in 1917 to provide gas safety solutions for the mining industry and later the oil and gas industries. Over the years the mission has not changed just the range of industries and applications for which we provide protection. Today we provide gas detection solutions for over 400 gases and vapours into a wide range of applications. Just because you can’t see it, smell it or taste it does not mean a gas hazard is not present and that’s where we do vital work to protect.

[AZO] Why is it important to measure gases like oxygen and carbon dioxide in a laboratory? [IGD] In any activity, it is about understanding the possible risks and taking steps to minimise those risks. If your handling raw chicken then you wash your hands before eating your crisps. So you understood the risk and you mitigated them. So we all breath Oxygen and exhale and CO2 in our breath, so what’s the issue? Again its about education and understanding the hazards and mitigation steps to take. Laboratories commonly use both gaseous and liquid Nitrogen in many processes. Spills of liquid Nitrogen or leaks of gaseous nitrogen can reduce the Oxygen level by diluting the atmosphere. The British Compressed gases Association (BCGA) publishes several guidance notes and ACOP’s (Approved Codes of Practice). These specifically state that “no-one should be exposed to an atmosphere containing less than 19.5% Oxygen“. Liquid Nitrogen can present particular hazards as 1 Liter of liquid Nitrogen will vaporise at room temperature to produce 696 Litres of gaseous Nitrogen. So you don’t need much of a liquid spill in a closed room to have a depleted Oxygen level very quickly.

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